I love the smell of gasoline, but my nose can't tolerate curry. What's up with that?
According to smell expert Rachel Herz, PhD, our scent preferences are directly tied to an experience. For example, I love getting a whiff of chlorine probably because it reminds me of summers spent at my local swim club.
“We come to form an opinion about a smell as a function of our experiences with them and a lot of times our culture will dictate that a certain smell is supposed to be a good smell,” Herz, author of "The Scent of Desire" (Harper Collins), told InStyle in 2015. “Odors don’t have meaning prior to us forming an association, specifically emotional associations.”
So even if a person can't think of why she loathes a certain smell, it's likely tied to some emotional experience.
“When we make an emotional association, that’s what sticks and that’s what determines whether we like the smell or not," Hertz said.
After speaking to a few people about what they do and don't like to sniff, I compiled a list. Buckle up, because it's time to get weird and vote on whether you love or hate the smell.